Wendover Arm Trust Working Party News, Issue 110, August 2015

Roger Leishman  |  Published: Aug 26th 2015
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July Working Party

In Ray’s absence cruising Tony Bardwell took over the running of the July Working Party. Many thanks to Tony for a job well done and stepping into the breach.

Pipe capping progressed well although still restricted by the line of the pipeline that meant placing the ready-mix concrete in short lengths that could be reached by the excavator bucket when unloading from the dumper end on as can be seen below.

At the July Working Party an unexpected discovery was made. Another, hitherto unknown, manhole was found on the pipeline. It is on a change in direction on the pipeline that is now heading directly towards the manhole at Whitehouses.

A gap has been left in the pipe capping until the manhole brickwork is lowered, can be cleaned out and a reinforced concrete slab placed over it before the capping can be completed.

Dave Wedd took the photograph that shows how the manhole sits on a change in direction of the pipeline, yes it is only 18” in diameter!.

 

August Working Party.

Ray Orth was back in harness and during this working party the pipeline trench went to the offside permitting the excavator to travel alongside the pipe capping work. This meant much longer lengths could be concreted at one time. The slab to place over the newly discovered manhole was also cast and you can see from the photograph below that it will not be long before capping reaches Whitehouses.

During the August working party there was an odd occurrence. The second of our 2 cubic metre deliveries of ready-mix was changed to 1½ cubic metres by the Eastern European lorry driver. The only reason that can be found for this was that in conversation with the driver a return time for the next load of 1½ hours was mentioned. A language problem?

 

September/October Working Parties

Pipe capping will continue including sealing the recently found manhole and capping over it. Now the pipe trench is moving along from the high offside bank, progress should be much faster. The manhole near Bridge 4A is being left uncapped for the time being as it is acting as a drain for the bed of the canal that is keeping fairly dry at present.

 

Whitehouses

We are beginning to despair over the completion of CRT’s water control works at Whitehouses. Completion was promised by the end of August but design and finance problems seem to have dogged the project.  The current position is, if financial authority is forthcoming, completion will be by October. We think that it unlikely that this will include delivery of the metal grid to go over, and handrail to go around, the settling tank. We still await the design of the blue brickwork that will retain the grid and cannot order the bricks until this is to hand.

KESCRG are putting off their scheduled September visit and it is unlikely they will re-schedule before the New Year, probably the May Working Party.

However, if CRT can finish by October, this will not hold up the WAT pipe capping through to Bridge 4 that it is hoped will be completed as soon as possible in 2016.

 

Restoration Manual

This has now been completed in a more simple form and is currently at the printers after which it will be issued to all volunteers who will be asked to sign that they have received and read it.

 

Wildlife and the re-watered Wendover Arm

When Phase I at Little Tring was completed we were all delighted at how quickly the wildlife took up residence, swans, mallards, at least three nests of moorhens, many fish including the large carp and herons and terns busy keeping the numbers down.

Recently I took a party of ladies from Tring Tangent for an evening walk round our Phase II restoration. They were all delighted with the wildlife and it set me thinking about everything that has taken up residence since re-watering.

The first thing that catches your attention in the spring and summer are the wild flowers.

Synonymous with the wild flowers are the butterflies found along the banks. We once saw a photographer on the bank and it turned out he was a butterfly expert who told us that the number and variety on our banks was amazing.

Still on the subject of wild flowers I do enjoy the summer scent of Meadow Sweet. A year or two back we moored for the night along a bank profuse with meadow sweet that had ripe seed. I collected some and grew it on at home finishing up with three good clumps that I have now planted along Stage 2 towpath bank. I hope that the plants will spread.

They seem to be flourishing and I have cast some seed along the bank and will watch developments.

This year on the newly re-watered section we have already seen a swan family with 5 cygnets, mallard families and coot families.

Since re-watering commenced there has been a kingfisher’s nest in the bund at the end of Stage1 and a reed warblers nest in the offside rushes near the bund at the start of Stage1

Finally the water is teeming with fish!

 

Open Day September 6th 2015

Margaret Leishman and some of her team of helpers are yet again organised to serve their usual drinks and cakes.

Margaret has enough helpers for the day but, as this is the time of year when people are off on their boats, she is short of cakes. If there are any ardent cake makers among our readers they would be very grateful for any donations. Please ring Margaret on 01442 874536 and let her know in advance if you are able to ‘bake-a-cake’.

 

General Notes

We operate as a self-supervising group under CRT and all volunteers receive and sign for the Trust’s Restoration Handbook that includes full Health and Safety requirements for the restoration works.

The handbook is the property of the Trust; if you leave the working parties for any reason, please return your Handbook to either Ray Orth or myself.

Hard hats for use at all times and high visibility jackets to be worn on sites with mobile plant in use are kept in the store at Tringford and must be drawn/returned there.

One first aid kit is kept in the store and one in the Nissan Cabstar and each qualified first-aider will have their own kit with him/her when on site.

Also available in the store at Tringford are ear defenders and goggles that must be worn when using strimmers, angle grinders, concrete breakers and the like. CRT will supply hard hats, gloves and footwear with reinforced toecaps on request.

We normally work from 9am to 5pm (or dark if earlier!). There are breaks for morning tea/coffee, packed lunch and afternoon tea/coffee. We take our own food and drink.

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